Run Time - 82 Minutes
Certificate - 12a
Genre - Foreign Language Drama
Country - Argentina
Rubén (Germán de Silva) drives timber for a living, the rugged Argentinean heading back from Paraguay to Buenos Aires with a full load of finest Cedar, where he picks up a female hitchhiker, Jacinta (Hebe Duarte) and her little baby Anahi (Nayra Calle Mamani). Reaching the border to Argentina he reticently agrees to pick them up on the other side, if they get through customs, mom and daughter heading to see their cousins in the capital.
Rubén appears to be a loner, deciding to pick them up at the last moment, screaming babies not the strong silent type's cup of ice tea.
Through awkward and snatched conversation we learn there is no father in Jacinta's life, animosity present. We also discover Rubén is a father, his son estranged for many years, maybe why he is reticent to share his emotions with a woman, little Anahi's innocent and playful smiles on the road breaking his icy façade and easing Jacinta's' anxiety that he may tip her out before journeys end. But there is a connection between the two, and its not just loneliness.
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If you like intriguing foreign dramas with fast talking and intricate plots then this is probably not for you, Las Acacias very much a subtle observational piece, not a lot happening as the lorry and logs rumble across South Americas various moods and terrains, the dust trail from the truck the only evidence the film actually happened. But it's good stuff from director Pablo Giorgelli and an impressive mood piece, each landscape a metaphor for a chunk of the main protagonist's life.
Although few words spoken in the first half hour, we recognize the awkwardness between the two, trust growing slowly between opposites, the gauche silence only broken by the baby's innocent smile and giggle that thaws the lonesome road warriors heart. Its all about the basics of life, that of love and reproduction. We were all screaming babies once but they always annoy us when they do, why they scream, a noise designed to make you tend for your child, something the man of the story once did but now at home on the hassle free road, escapism from responsibility the beating pulse from the director here.
Its also love story, a warn out man finding pleasure in the company of a woman once again, love really about offering protection and shelter rather than lust and machismo. Both are vulnerable people in their own way, drawing strength from each other from their mistakes, the actors quite brilliant in that aspect, the surrender of emotions the clincher to win another's heart. The films realism is the realism of the situation. These two people could easily be you and me. Yes it's yet another road movie with the obvious metaphor of life's twisting tracks but it's also an emotive and subtle powerful piece that should be enjoyed if you ever get the chance. Not every film has to be about explosions and morals.
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Imdb.com 6.9/10.0 (784 users)
Metacritic.com - 77% critic's approval
Rottentomatos.com - 77% critic's approval
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NY Times - 'A swelling meditation on wounded hearts and rekindled hopes'.
Metro - 'Even with its initial long stretches of silence, the film never feels clinical or cold, but rather compassionate and curious'.
The Times - 'The filmmakers have managed the near-miraculous feat of creating two characters who aren't larger-than-life or quirky or anything other than what you and I might be in their place'.
Time Out Magazine - 'A study in simplicity, perhaps too much so'.
Baltimore Star - 'This lovely film is ultimately an articulation of something at once simple and universal: the discontent of traveling through life with sad resignation'.
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